Your Own Financial Plan

Background

This is aimed to help you take control of your money so you can look after your family.
The big problem is balancing immediate needs with planning for the future, and everyone will be different here. There are some things you need to think about before you start – it isn’t as simple as just doing a budget in most cases! There are some fundamental values that affect what you do, and it’s also dependent on the stage of life you’re at and your background. There’s no right answer here.
Often there are other people you need to consider – it may be a young family, or aged relatives. In any event, we think there are some fundamental objectives, and these might be:

  1. Financial Security – this about responsibility for what matters to you
  2. Financial Freedom – investing in the future and creating opportunities
  3. Better Ongoing Decisions – doing some things in the right order has a greater impact

Priorities

You need to work out what’s important to you, and where you’ve got to with your life and your plans. This reflects a possible order of steps to take – feel free to change but please look at each one.

1. This is about what matters most to you
2. Deal with the basics – somewhere to live and something to eat
3. Pay your bills – prioritise (see DebtDrive)
4. Spending and saving
5. Build an emergency fund
6. Get insurance
7. Consider estate planning and do a will
8. Pay down expensive debts
9. Put extra money to use
10. Do what’s important to you – see 1!

What's Important To You

  1. It’s not about money, it’s about what the money is for. You need to ask yourself: “Why is money important to you?”  Keep answering this question until you get to the answer that really matters to you.  You’ll know.  Then write it down.  Then use this as as a yardstick for every financial decision you make in the future – if it helps this goal then do it, if not, think twice.

The Essentials

2. Basics – somewhere to live and something to eat

This is about key responsibilities – don’t worry about the other stuff if you can’t do this.  If this is hard, then look at DebtDrive here to see what help you can get.

3. Pay your bills

If you can, this means pay all your bills and also make sure you pay the minimum amounts on your debts.  If you can’t manage this, look at our section on debt here.

Create your system and budget

4. Spending and Saving – it’s not just about building your budget. It makes things a lot easier if you also develop a system to manage this on a regular basis – it takes the work out of it and you’re more likely to continue.  There are 4 steps to this:

  1. List your spending – split this between essential or household spending (what you need to carry on living and eating!) and discretionary spending (stuff you could do without if you had to). You can download budget spreadsheets from BudgetDrive More Info.
  2. Automate your spending and savings – move money automatically into saving and budget accounts BEFORE you get a chance to spend it.
  3. Look at odd expenses – look at irregular expenses like Christmas and save for them ahead of time so you can afford them.
  4. Build the right habits – look at the habits which cost you unnecessary money and introduce new habits where possible.

Financial Security

The order of these next three items will vary – we think this is the right order but it may be different for you!

5. Build an Emergency Fund – there’s always something unexpected, and when you’ve got responsibilities e.g. to a family you’ll need at least £1,000-£2,000 in a savings account, which is enough to deal with most unexpected expenses.

6. Get insurance – if there are people who depend on you and your income financially then you should put steps in place so that if anything happens to you they can continue to live and eat. This can involve life insurance and critical illness – to see more go to InsuranceDrive here.

7. Consider estate planning and do a will – whether you’ve got money or not, it’s important to understand what would happen if you died. If you have children, what will happen to them?  You should make a will – see WillDrive here.

Financial Freedom

Once you have got financial security, start to look at how to become financially free.


8. Pay down expensive debts – all your expensive debts cost you more than you are likely to make on savings and investments, so it makes sense to pay these off first if you can.

9. Put extra money to use – you decide the right order for you – these are some things you can do:
a. Pay in to your pension – workplace pension or private – try and put in up to the maximum your employer will – this gives you an immediate 100% return and there are good tax benefits.
b. Next Emergency Fund – build this up ideally to 6 months living expenses
c. Pay off low interest debt – again this is still likely to give you a better return than savings!
d. Invest for the long term – ISAs are a good way to save, and the money is always available.
e. Schooling for kids – this could be helping them get through university or college.

10. Do what’s important to you – go back to what’s important (in step 1) and see what you really want to do – what’s your adventure?

s2Member®

Fantasy and Reality

Difference between sexual fantasy and reality

Well for many fantasies are just that and are kept to the individual or partner. Those can sometimes be extreme in nature but that’s where it stops and it never gets to reality. Some partners want to go further and put the fantasy into reality.

Well in this case it requires thinking through especially if it involves third parties or doing things whereby you can get caught. There is nothing wrong with turning a legal fantasy into reality provided everyone is truly consenting and not coerced into it.

Pornography is now almost universally available - on phones, computers and tablets. It's no longer a case of 'top shelf' magazines! Can watching porn spice up a sexual relationship, or is it a sad addiction? Who watches porn anyway? How real is it? Is there a balance between a bit of spice and a compulsion?

Multi-partner, Group, threesomes, orgies, are not for everyone and need to be planned otherwise things could backfire. There are people who enjoy these types of sexual gratification but if a partner is reluctant then they should never be coerced or forced. Sex and sex acts do magical things to our bodies naturally but the brain has to remain in control and make sure the act doesn’t turn into an addiction.

Why not take the sex addiction test in the tabs below and see how you get on?

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OCEAN Personality Types

People tend to believe that each individual is different and unique in their own way. While that may be true to an  extent, it’s not entirely accurate.

It’s certainly not helpful when firms are trying to recruit people ‘of a certain type’.

When it comes to personality types, there are tests that categorise people into one of a few groups that describe their characteristics.

The ‘Big Five’ personality traits  characteristics are :

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

Easily remembered as OCEAN.  You can find out what type of person you are by taking a free test here.  It’s from Truity and doesn’t need an email or login.

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Holiday habits

• A third of Britons who go abroad return to the same resort every year
• The average UK holidaymaker has been to the same place four times
• More than one in ten return to the same holiday spot ten or more times – and many even try to book the same hotel room.
• More than a third, 34 per cent, go to the same restaurant they ate at on their last trip, and more than a quarter, 26 per cent, don’t even bother trying to find new drinking locations
• Some 59 per cent of us go on the same holiday in successive years
• McDonalds and KFC are worldwide brands and people in a foreign city can always head to a McDonalds and KFC because you only need to point at the picture and with 3 fingers held up means you want 3 – language barrier overcome. No slight embarrassment not knowing the menu or protocol.
• Many go back because it is the easy option.

No more seasonal fruit and veg - but at what price?

Years ago we had seasonal fruit, but not now. Strawberries were April to August – now it’s January to November under poly-tunnel. How can a plant produce so much fruit??? Artificial feeding. How can they be so big?  Artificial feeding. How can they look so pristine with not a mark on them? Artificial feeding and pesticides to keep the insects off. But because they are grown in artificial circumstances they can attract new types of diseases so chemicals are added to stop those diseases taking off. But, is there an alternative? Yes buy organic fruit and veg – at least there is an element of inspection and testing.

Fresh food could be as bad as processed food

What is becoming scarier than processed food is fresh food. The farmers and scientists and government are now on a mission to feed the increasing population, HOW? Well, producing fresh food that we can grow quicker, faster, bigger, disease free and more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. But all these things come at a price.
The chemicals that farmers and growers put on the land to grow super-fast produce mean that the feed is so powerful it can double the growth and size in half the time. The pesticides they put on the plants kills everything and anything that lives on a plant, just so we don’t have a marked apple on the shelf. We do need chemicals to stop some diseases on fruit and veg but the chemicals on fruit and veg today go much further. This article in the Daily Mail on 1st November 2018 said;

On average, new research has found, a supermarket potato will have been doused with an astonishing 30 active ingredients (an active ingredient is the part of a substance or compound that produces its chemical or biological effect). Compare that to 40 years ago — when a potato would have been treated with just 5.3 active ingredients — and you start to see how mind-bogglingly dependent farming in Britain today is on chemicals.

Meat - is that healthy to eat?

Well years ago it was. When animals could go into the fields and eat grass and get normal supplements to keep them fit and healthy.  But then big business wanted more and started to produce feeds like rocket fuel, the sort of food body builders eat to accelerate muscle and weight. Can you blame them? Not really. If someone says; “Hey, here’s a food that will treble the size of your animal in half the time, which means you get it to market faster and it’s cheaper to feed, so less cost and more profit.”  Who wouldn’t?

But then you look at what they feed the animals and think it just doesn’t pass straight through the animal and out the other side – it is absorbed into the flesh. And then humans eat it. But, what’s the alternative? Locally produced, farm and grass reared, local butcher sold meats. Organic, just to add a bit of assurance nothing has been used on the land.

Out of date bread - where does it go after the supermarket?

Ever wondered where the old out of date bread goes when it comes off the supermarket shelves? Well it goes to a special company and it is all ground together into a giant mincing machine and ground up into crumbs. This includes the coloured branded plastic bag it came in and the tag on the end. As bread is yeast based it requires further chemicals to stop another fermentation process taking place.

It is then sold to farmers for winter feed to cows who eat the crumbs and plastic bag and tag. We then milk the cow or eat the beef. Just to remind you cows stomachs may be big but they are not designed to eat colour printed plastic. Yet again another Food Standards Agency and Agricultural Agency getting together to provide winter feed at a cheap cost with no regard for the cow or the consumer. But what’s the alternative – organic milk. Aldi, Co-op and Sainsbury sell organic milk very competitively.

Farmed fish / shellfish - is it good for us?

So what do we know, well firstly fish living together in huge pens in huge quantities attract disease. They also, in the case of salmon, lose their colour, so scientists created a food that has colour built in and contains chemicals that kill the fish lice and then we eat it. Take a look on YouTube at the investigations and make your own mind up.

The biggest fish farms in the world are now in the Baltic Sea. They farm pollock, haddock and cod and we also know the Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas on the globe. But, what is the alternative – fish caught in the open ocean.

Shellfish is a popular product in the UK but most prawns come from Thailand, Vietnam and South America. All are farmed. But, what’s the alternative – organic and ocean caught never farmed.

This recent documentary opens your eyes to fish farming and the issues they have  – click here.  

When is the best time to eat?

It’s not just eating the right food or drinking the right amount of water – it’s about when we do this. In the UK we eat as fuel and don’t eat for pleasure. We often push food down our throats as fast as we can – often late in the evening just before we go to bed!!  There is an old saying breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, dinner like a prince and supper like a pauper. Eating during the day gives our bodies the chance to work off the fuel we have put into our bodies. Many people have such busy days they don’t get time to eat during the day. If you’re that busy your body needs fuel so snack every hour or two if you cannot give up the time at lunch to eat. Little and often is recommended rather than a big meal at the end of the day.

We are creating a new type of member – the YouDriver.

YouDrivers will be able to build their own health dashboard – they will take health questionnaires to see how healthy they are, they will look at all aspects of their health and understand exactly what matters to them.

They will go on a journey to decide which health areas they want to work on, how they want to tackle these and then they will be able to build their own action plans. 

We’re also inviting more people to get involved – whether by contributing their own views or by offering support to our site visitors.

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